by Lisa A. Grimaldi | April 01, 2013
Free for All
Take advantage of the New York City’s surprisingly robust roster of free activities and events, listed at
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The 774-room Westin New York Grand Cen­tral opened in October 2012, following a $75 million renovation of the former New York Helmsley Hotel. Among the property's offerings are 12,000 square feet of meeting space and the 3,000-square-foot WestinWorkout fitness studio. A new eatery, The LCL: Bar & Kitchen, NYC, will come online later this year.

The Viceroy New York is scheduled to open this September in Midtown Manhattan. The property will have 241 guest rooms, a 500-square-foot meeting room, a lobby lounge and a rooftop lounge.

Strategic Hotels & Resorts has purchased the iconic 509-room Essex House Hotel from the Dubai Investment Group for $362 million. The property, now managed by Marriott International, has been rebranded as the JW Marriott Essex House New York. In a dramatic setting directly across from the southeast end of Central Park, the hotel features 12 meeting rooms and a spa.

Delta Air Lines, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and JFK International Air Terminal recently announced yet another expansion at John F. Kennedy Inter­national Airport in Queens. The $175 million project will add 11 gates and approximately 75,000 square feet to Terminal 4's Concourse B. The new project is in addition to a massive $1.2 billion redevelopment at Terminal 4 that debuts this month with renovated gates and check-in areas, a host of new dining and retail offerings, and a new 24,000-square-foot flagship Delta Sky Club complete with an outdoor terrace.

The Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York, set to open in 2014, will have 114 guest rooms including 26 suites, as well as 61 private residences and a stand-alone "crystal bar" surrounded by an outdoor terrace, a spa, an indoor pool and a fitness facility. The hotel is the first in Starwood Capital Group's new luxury Baccarat brand.

The Conrad New YorkThe 463-suite Conrad New York debuted last March in lower Manhattan. The property has more than 30,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including the 6,200-square-foot Gallery Ballroom. Other features include more than 2,000 works of art, a rooftop bar and a signature restaurant, Atrio.

The city of New York will sell the former New York Life Insurance Co. building  on Broadway in Tribeca to developer Peebles Corp. for $160 million. Plans for the 120-year-old landmark, designed by a team of architects that included Stanford White, call for it to be converted into a mixed-use complex with a hotel, retail space and residences.

In Midtown, the 899-room New York Palace, originally the Henry Villard Mansion and later a Helmsley property, is undergoing a $100 million renovation. Included in the project are all guest rooms, public areas and 17 meeting rooms.

The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center currently is upgrading its telecommunications services. Included in the project is the addition of free Wi-Fi service in the Level 1 food court and the installation of a permanent antenna system to accommodate cell phones.

Meeting Hotels
Among the Big Apple's main meeting properties are the 1,980-room Hilton New York, 1,946-room New York Marriott Marquis, 1,780-room Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, 1,311-room Grand Hyatt New York, 1,235-room Waldorf Astoria, 1,015-room Roosevelt Hotel and 863-room Westin New York at Times Square. For a more extensive list, go to

Convention Center
Jacob K. Javits Con­vention Center; exhibit space, 840,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 102; (212) 216-2000;

Airport Transit
 John F. Kennedy International Airport, 15 miles from Midtown. Transfer cost by taxi to midtown Manhattan, $52 plus tolls
LaGuardia Airport, about eight miles from Midtown. Transfer cost by taxi midtown Manhattan, $25-$37 plus tolls

Room tax, 5.875% plus $3.50 per room, per night; sales tax, 8.875%; total tax on hotel rooms, 14.75%, plus $3.50 per room, per night

Group Venue
Offsite, a new event space, has opened in Manhattan, a few blocks from Times Square. The venue's ground floor has seating for up to 60 people, the mezzanine features a 30-person conference table and a meeting space in the basement seats 24. The facility also has three pantry kitchens and state-of-the-art A/V throughout.

NYC & Com­pany, (212) 484-1200;